Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Today at mass we celebrated the feast of the Holy Family. The church was decorated so beautiful. Pointsettas and wreaths everywhere. The nativity scene was beautiful also. And on Christmas Eve Father blessed the manger. I remember in his prayer he said, "may whoever looks upon this nativity scene be blessed."  What an awesome thought. To look upon the place where Jesus was born. To look upon Jesus, Mary and Joseph and remember in our hearts how much God loves us that He sent His son to us to be born in a lowly manger. Now I have worked on farms before. I have slept in a barn before, not too far away from a horse. It is not always a pleasant sight or smell.  But God loved us so much. He sent the message of the birth of His son to the poor shepherds and the rich magi. He is not partial to  anyone's status in this world. He came for all. That is why I chose the song I did to be played on my blog. O Come All Ye Faithful.
As I listened to that song in church this morning and I heard the words, "Come Ye to Bethlehem," I thought when we look upon the manger scene, when we go to Jesus in that place, we are going to Bethlehem.
Here is a beautiful account of the first nativity scene set up by St. Francis:

St. Bonaventure (d. 1274) in his Life of St. Francis of Assisi tells the story:

''It happened in the third year before his death, that in order to excite the inhabitants of Grecio to commemorate the nativity of the Infant Jesus with great devotion, [St. Francis] determined to keep it with all possible solemnity; and lest he should be accused of lightness or novelty, he asked and obtained the permission of the sovereign Pontiff. Then he prepared a manger, and brought hay, and an ox and an @#!*% to the place appointed. The brethren were summoned, the people ran together, the forest resounded with their voices, and that venerable night was made glorious by many and brilliant lights and sonorous psalms of praise. The man of God [St. Francis] stood before the manger, full of devotion and piety, bathed in tears and radiant with joy; the Holy Gospel was chanted by Francis, the Levite of Christ. Then he preached to the people around the nativity of the poor King; and being unable to utter His name for the tenderness of His love, He called Him the Babe of Bethlehem. A certain valiant and veracious soldier, Master John of Grecio, who, for the love of Christ, had left the warfare of this world, and become a dear friend of this holy man, affirmed that he beheld an Infant marvellously beautiful, sleeping in the manger, Whom the blessed Father Francis embraced with both his arms, as if he would awake Him from sleep. This vision of the devout soldier is credible, not only by reason of the sanctity of him that saw it, but by reason of the miracles which afterwards confirmed its truth. For example of Francis, if it be considered by the world, is doubtless sufficient to excite all hearts which are negligent in the faith of Christ; and the hay of that manger, being preserved by the people, miraculously cured all diseases of cattle, and many other pestilences; God thus in all things glorifying his servant, and witnessing to the great efficacy of his holy prayers by manifest prodigies and miracles." Catholic Education Resource Center

The Christmas season has just begun. I know it is hard because of how everyone does Christmas today. Everything comes down after Christmas Day. I find that sad because it makes me think that it is just about the presents. "Okay, got my presents. Christmas is over."  But that's not right. It has just begun. I try every year to add more ancient traditions to my Christmas season, post presents. This year I am adding the white Christ candle to burn a little everyday until Epiphany and keeping my nativity scene up and decorated until Epiphany. I do try to leave the tree up also but take down some of my Santa Clause decorations a little every day.
Another benefit of celebrating Christmas until Epiphany is the stress of shopping, baking and cleaning are gone. Now is a great time to focus on Jesus.

O Come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Cards

Christmas cards have been a tradition since the late 1800's.  From what I have read the tradition started in England. The first card apparently wasn't too well liked because of the portrait of a family sipping on wine and it included a young boy sipping also. Sir Henry had commisioned a man named John Horsely to design the card. Even though this Christmas card wasn't so well liked people began sending out Christmas cards after that anyway.
Americans, up until 1875, imported their Christmas cards from England. At that time a man named Louis Prang opened a printing shop and started the first line of Christmas cards in America.

I was in a store the other day and over heard a woman very loudy talking about sending Christmas cards.  She was telling someone she doesn't send Christmas cards to people she is going to see at Christmas. Now, I can understand what she is saying. If you're going to see someone on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day at the family celebration, do you need to send them a card. Maybe, maybe not.

I remember watching my mom when I was growing up writing out her Christmas cards. I remember getting those Christmas cards. Getting Christmas cards is something I look forward to every year.
I feel the Christmas card is a reminder of what is important this holiday season.  The beautiful scenes drawn on the cards give me a peaceful feeling. A reminder that this time of year is not just about presents and turkeys and cookies and decorations but about, well first Jesus and also about spreading love, joy and hope to people.

We live in such an impersonal world today, a card adds a little bit of closeness.
There are some people, especially the elderly that are lonely and watch for those Christmas cards. You might see them on Christmas but that card sends a little extra message. It tells them that you care. It tells them that you took the time to think about them, write down their name and address and mailed a little something to them wishing them joy for the whole Christmas season not just Christmas Day.
It appears to me that e-cards are becoming the thing, but you can't put them on a fireplace. They are easier. Sure some are cute but it just doesn't carry the same sentiment.

Yes, cards can be a chore. I find it a chore and it takes me some time to get them out but I also find it is a small gift that I can send to friends and family and let them know they are in my thoughts and as a Catholic Christian it is also a little way of reminding people of the real meaning of Christmas as it can get so lost in the hustle and bustle of shopping and cooking.

So, don't forget your Christmas cards:

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Luke 2:12

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Here is a great reflection for today's Mass readings.  I have the daily Mass readings at the bottom of my page here and if you click on reflection you will find a small reflection from  I am not sure if everyday the reflection comes from Presentation Ministries but today's does.

One Bread, One Body - Reflection for December 12, 2010


"Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy." –Isaiah 35:10

The chosen people's return to the promised land took not one miracle but many miracles perfectly ordered and timed. They needed the desert to be turned into an oasis, their hands and knees strengthened, their hearts freed from fear, their eyes opened, and their ears cleared (Is 35:1-5). They needed to be able to jump like stags and to sing like birds (see Is 35:6).
You also may need an almost incomprehensible array of miracles to return to your first love (Rv 2:4), to the Church, to your spouse and family, to your ministry and work, or to a life of faith, hope, and love. The Lord wants to give you these miracles as your Christmas presents. He will give you the gifts of repentance, forgiveness, conversion, life in the Spirit, healing, deliverance, evangelization, ministry, etc. He wills to do more than you can ever ask for or imagine (Eph 3:20). Jesus promises: "The blind recover their sight, cripples walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, dead men are raised to life, and the poor have the good news preached to them. Blest is the man who finds no stumbling block in Me" (Mt 11:5-6). "Those who stumble and fall are the disbelievers in God's word" (1 Pt 2:8).
Don't believe what you see, how you feel, or what others may say. Believe God's word. Receive the miracles of Christmas.
PRAYER: Father, on this Gaudete Sunday, may I obey Your command to rejoice in Your Son always (Phil 4:4).
PROMISE: "Be patient, therefore, my brothers, until the coming of the Lord." –Jas 5:7
PRAISE: Praise Jesus, "the Resurrection and the Life" (Jn 11:25), Whose life gives life to all who would receive it.

Simple Woman's Day Planner It's Cold and Snowy

First let me say, "Happy 3rd week of Advent!"

Just for today:

Outside my window it is cold and snowy and gray.

Today I am thinking about several things. One I wish we could have made it to Mass but it is very bad out right now. We attempted it but the snow is blowing so much and visibility is not good. So, I am thinking about the Lord in my heart and missing being with Him in worship. I am, also, thinking about how I plan to organize my recipes from a binder to recipe box.

I am very thankful for a warm home, roof over our head and a new furnace we had to put in this year at the beginning of winter because our old one gave out.  I am, also, very very thankful I can be home with my family because last night I worked and thought I would be trapped because of the snow and not make it home to be with my family today. I am very grateful it did not hit until early this morning.

I am wearing blue jeans and a festive shirt.

I am remembering people I need to send Christmas cards to.

Tonight I am going to stay home.

A good book I am reading is actually not a book but a magazine, "Faith and Family."

I am hoping for a joyous Advent and Christmas season that brings us closer to the Lord day by day and a safe winter.

On my mind is what is going on outside, watching the snow blow everywhere.

I am noticing Christmas lights and a crazy cat running around the house and wet clothes at the doorway from a young boy playing outside.

Pondering these words from today's reading of the Bible:  Isaiah 35: 1-6,10

 The desert and the parched land will exult;
the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers,
and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to them,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands that are feeble,
make firm the knees that are weak,
say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
with divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.
Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return
and enter Zion singing,

crowned with everlasting joy;
they will meet with joy and gladness,
sorrow and mourning will flee.

From the kitchen we have Christmas cookies and cheese dip and crackers.

Around the house are Christmas decorations.

One of my favorite things is being home.

Check out more Simple Woman's Day Planners at:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy Second Week of Advent!

It's hard to believe this is the second week of Advent already. Our parish church is having a cookie exchange this coming weekend so I need to get busy baking some cookies. Hoping to find some new recipes.
I really enjoy the music sung at Mass this time of year. It is so beautiful.

Frying pans

I have recently decided to try to use a cast iron skillet.  I've heard different stories about health hazards of cooking with other metals.  I'm a little worried about sticking, though because I've also heard horror stories about sticking with cast iron skillets. I really want to try to use cast iron successfully. With cast iron there isn't any worry about a dangerous metal getting into your food. I don't want to have to drown the food I am cooking in alot of unhealthy oils either, so I guess I'll need to keep a good amount of olive oil on hand to season the pans. Since, I believe olive oil is healthier for you than any other oil.

There is a brand of cast iron out right now that says it is pre-seasoned and I recently purchased one of those. Logic Cast Iron can be purchased at Wal-Mart, Target and I am sure other places. I believe I have seen them at Amazon.
I have used this skillet today for two meals. The first meal I cooked was hash browns. I cooked these in I Can't Believe It' Not Butter. No sticking. Cleaned up great. I had to try it again. I thought I would try it with something that occasionally sticks and is frustrating when it sticks. Pancakes. I wasn't ready to try French toast, yet.

I cooked the pancakes in olive oil. The first one stuck and I was feeling a little frustrated. I cleaned up the pan and had to try again.  Oh good, cooked up great. No sticking. I did this two more times.

I have heard that once you learn how to season your cast iron, you will come to just love it.  I read to season you cast iron, after you are finished cooking, wipe the pan clean with a wet cloth. Dry thoroughly.  Add oil, heat again on the stove, then turn off the stove and let the pan cool and wipe out excess oil.  Prior to first use do the same thing. Heat on stove with oil. Let cool and then wipe out excess oil. So far it has been working well.

If things change and I come to dislike this pan, I'll let you know.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cooking from the Past

I have been helping my mom lately clean out her house because she has been downsizing to a smaller place. I have found some great old cookbooks. Some were my mother's and some belonged to my dad's mom, my grandmother. One I found was dated back to 1915. It was my Grandmother's. It is called The Housekeepers Handy Book. It is full of homemaking ideas and recipes. It has alot of really cute words in it we don't hear anymore. Like reminding you to set a dainty table for a sick person. I  wonder was this cookbook a wedding gift or something she purchased when she was young and put in a hope chest. Alot of the recipes would need to be adapted for sure. I might try to adapt some and then include them here on my blog. Here is a picture of the  
book and a picture of my grandmother is above, along others of my ancestors. She is the one in the middle sitting down and holding her hat. She's pretty isn't she?

Another book I found was published in the 1940's. I plan to try and use some of those recipes, also.  There were many more cookbooks. All from my grandmother. What I found interesting was almost all of these books when I opened them up had recipe's cutout from other sources, mostly magazines, stuck in the book.  I never do that. I should, though.  I need to be better about looking for recipes. I am going to be trying some of these and I will post some of them here.

There were a couple of other cookbooks I found. These are not so old. They were published in the 1960's. They were published by Better Homes and Gardens. One was a desert cookbook. The other was a cookbook for chicken, turkey and other game birds.

I tried the chicken parmesan recipe last night. I had to adapt a couple of things but this was the best way to make parmesan chicken I had ever tasted.  I am not a real big fan of parmesan chicken so I wasn't sure I wanted to try it but I did. I am so glad I did.

Here are the list of ingredients I used:

1 cup crushed packaged chicken flavored Stove-Top stuffing mix.
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of snipped parsley
2-3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast
1/2 cup I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, melted.

I combined the stuffing mix, cheese and parsley, dipped the chicken in the melted butter and then rolled the chicken in the mixture. Then placed in large shallow baking pan. Sprinkled with the remaining butter and crumbs. I baked it at 375 degrees for about and hour.

This was so delicious.

Little by little I will try to post what the other cookbooks are and some of the good recipes found in them and these above.

One more thing I have to mention that speaks so of the past is instead of paper clips marking certain pages, there were bobby pins. I love learning about women of the past.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Saint Nicholas Day

Saint Nicholas is who I am talking about. A patron saint.  Maybe called Santa Claus in some countries but I am not talking about Mr. HO HO HO.

We have all heard of the name Saint Nicholas. I love the old song "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas."  His feast day, St. Nicholas Day, is December 6, during the beautiful season of Advent.  In many places around the world he comes visiting children to see if they have been good. Usually he comes in the night and finds carrots and hay for his horse or donkey along with lists children have made for him to let him know what gifts they would like. He will leave small treats  in shoes or stockings that are left out, which is where hanging stockings by the fireplace came from.  Usually he may leave gifts, fruits or nuts.

All over the world he has a different appearance.
In places that St. Nicholas is a well-known saint, Christmas is not the primary day of gift giving but St. Nicholas Day instead.
He was born in the third century in the village of Patara. This is  on the southern coast of Turkey but at that time it was Greek.
His parents raised him to be a devout Christian. Sadly, they died  while Nicholas was a young boy. Nicholas wanted very much to obey Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," He would give all he had to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to being a servant of God.  He was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Saint Nicholas became known all around for being very  generous to the those in need.  He had  a very great love for children and a great  concern for sailors and ships.

Saint Nicholas suffered very much for his faith. He  was exiled and actually spent time in prison. After Nicholas was freed, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325, a very important council in history. Nicholas died December 6,  343AD  in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church.  In his grave a very unique relic formed which is called manna. . This liquid substance, was said to have healing powers. Because of this there was devotion to Nicholas.  His feast day is December 6, the day of his death.

There are many legends built around Saint Nicholas. One such story is about a man who had three daughters. He was very poor and in those times a father needed a good dowry (something of value) to ensure his daughters got good husbands. This man didn't have a very good dowry, though, very mysteriously three seperate times there would be a bag of gold appear at their home. It it said the bags were thrown throught the window and ended up in the girls shoes, thus Saint Nicholas provided the needed dowry.

There are many other stories about Saint Nicholas, some are legends and some are real.  More than 2,000 churches have been named after him. There were many St. Nicholas chapels built in many seaports.

At our home, on the night before December 6. I like to surprise my family with little chocolate treats found in their shoes, that are set by the fireplace. It is just a little way we remember who the real Saint Nicholas is.

I like some of the old stories of Santa Claus. They can be fun but I really enjoy remembering every year what a christian Saint Nicholas was. It makes this time of year special. When we remember the important events around this season it just gives it such a magical, beautiful feel.

There is so much about Saint Nicholas, I can't tell it all. There are some very good websites that tell so much about him. I recommend checking out a couple of them if you haven't already.

Clipart courtesy of:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What does it mean when the say, "a new liturgical year."

Wel,l first we need to know what the word, "liturgy" means.  Catholics, Lutherans and Anglicans hear this word alot but for other Christians it is not so familiar. For me, even though I was raised Catholic I never knew what that word meant until recently. According to Catholic Reference.Net it means: 

A public service, duty, or work. In Scripture it refers to the religious duties to be performed by priests and levites in the Temple, especially those related to the Sacrifice; in Christian use among the Eastern Churches it means the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
In present day usage liturgy is the official public worship of the Church and is thus distinguished from private devotion. It is the special title of the Eucharist, and the administration of the sacraments with the annexed use of the sacramentals.

In other words, liturgy is public worship or community worship.

There are six seasons during the liturgical year, all commemorating and celebrating the life of Jesus. These seasons are: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Tridium, Easter and Ordinary time.

Every year when Advent begins we start a new liturgical year. Throughout the whole year we will celebrate the life of Jesus starting with the nativity. It is such a beautiful time of the year.

The colors change throughout the year and during Advent violet is used to remind us of humility and the need to prepare for our Lord through prayer and penance. The other colors used throughout the year are: green symbolizing life and hope, red symbolizing the Passion of Jesus or in reference to the Holy Spirit, white the color of joy and victory, and on certain days we see rose, which represents the joy of anticipation.

So, on our Advent wreaths this week we light the first violet candle as we prepare for the coming of our Lord.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

To Listen to any videos, scroll down and pause playlist

Happy First Week of Advent!

"Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum" (Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just), and the response: "Aperiatur terra et germinet salvatorem" (Let the earth be opened and send forth a Saviour").

Friday, November 26, 2010

Advent is next

I know alot people believe that after Thanksgiving comes the Christmas season but as a Catholic Christian for me the next season is Advent.  Advent means coming.  It reminds us we are waiting for our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Christmas is a different season. That is why so many people years ago did not put their tree up until Christmas Eve because that is when Christmas started. Today, unfortunately, we end the season as soon as we get our gifts instead of beginning it. That isn't what Christmas is to be about.

The word for Christmas in late Old English is Cristes Maesse, the Mass of Christ.  In Dutch it is Kerstmis, in Latin Dies Natalis, whence comes the French Noël, and Italian Il natale; in German Weihnachtsfest.  

 In the early Church the feast was celebrated along with the Epiphany. But already in A.D. 200 St. Clement of Alexandria (150-215) refers to a special feast on May 20, and the Latin Church began observing it on December 25. The privilege of priests offering three Masses on Christmas Day goes back to a custom originally practiced by a pope who, about the fourth century, celebrated a midnight Mass in the Liberian Basilica (where traditionally the manger of Bethlehem is preserved), a second in the Church of St. Anastasia, whose feast falls on December 25, and a third at the Vatican Basilica. (
So, soon we will be starting our wonderful season of Advent as we prepare for Christmas and I hope to find some wonderful ways to express this season to myself, my family and in my blog.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Preparing For Thanksgiving, Planning Ahead, Being Thankful

Well, today was National Tie One On Day. That has nothing to do with alcohol. It means tie on your apron. So today I did. I am finding wearing an apron is a very handy thing to have on. I am always setting the kitchen towel down and forgetting where I put it. When I have on an apron I don't have that problem.

I started preparing my Thanksgiving meal early this morning and started with one of my favorite foods for this time of year. The pumpkin pie. I try to get some of the cooking done the day before. Almost every year I have used the Libby's recipe for pumpkin pie. This year I thought I would look through some cookbooks and see if I found anything that looked better. Nope. Alot of other recipes included more sugar than I find healthy or other kinds of milk besides evaporated milk. Not that I don't like regular milk. Evaporated milk just doesn't have as much fat.

That  pie looks really  good. I can't wait to have some tomorrow.  But, first I must let it cook for a while.

Now, to start on the turkey. My mother showed me how she was taught to cook a turkey on the farm when she was growing up. So I only know one way to cook it. It comes out really juicey and good. It does include basting. There is one problem with basting, that is using the same utensil over and over. I don't.  After every time I baste I either throw the utensil in the dishwasher or hot sudsy water. I, also, cover the wing tips and leg with aluminum foil to keep them from burning.

After the turkey is cooked, I let it cool for 15 minutes and then my husband helps carve.

It is so nice and helpful to do some of Thanksgiving cooking the day before. Tomorrow I will get up and start on more cooking.

I have to add here, though, what Thanksgiving is about. Being thankful. It helps if there is someone you can thank. For me, I am thankful to God and all the love and blessings He has given me and my family. There are good times and hard times in life but knowing God is always there is the best thing to be thankful for.

Here is a link to a great Thanksgiving letter by Father Corapi:

 Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trying to do too many things at once. A body can't be two places at one time. A person can't do two jobs at the same time. One will not come out so well. Oh, sure you can catch up but at the time one job is lacking in quality.
I work part time and I am very grateful I have a family that pitches in and helps out around the house when I work, but my heart is in my home. I love being a housewife, homemaker, wife and mother. I love having a home ready for them when they come home from work and school. It gives me such a good feeling.I am just realizing how important that is to me and to them.

Titus 2:  4: That they may teach the young women to be wise, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5: To be discreet, chaste, sober, having a care of the house, gentle...

It makes me think of how it must have been for Mary. Oh, yes, she didn't have all of the modern conveniences we have today but she must have loved having a home for Jesus and Joseph. Nesting. Keeping a place for your family to find comfort.

Friday, November 12, 2010


The other day I was at a restaurant picking up an order and I looked over and noticed something going on. It was two older men sitting at a table together. Now that doesn't sound too strange. Now when I say older I realize that older is relative. Older than what? Older than who?  Well, I mean older than me. Definitely older than teens, because I am nowhere near that.  I would imagine both of these men were in their 60's. Now what was interesting was that even though they were sitting at the same table, eating lunch together they were both talking on their cell phones and ignoring each other.
We hear alot about this subject when it comes to teens and how they are constantly texting or talking on their cell phones. It also isn't strange to be in a store waiting in line and have someone talking on their cell phone while they check out or be in a public place hearing every word of someones conversation because they are talking on their cell phone so loud.
I, myself, have become very attached to my cell phone and I am getting pretty good at texting. The other day a woman made a comment to me about how fast I could text.
Though, despite all this enjoyment of our latest technology it makes me wonder what is happening to our manners and our ability to socialize with each other.
Where are our manners when we are line at a store and we are talking on a phone to someone else. How does that make the check out lady feel?  What about when you're talking to one person and your phone rings and you end up in a conversation with someone else or you are in a public place and talking so loud you are making your business known to everyone around you?
It used to be one of the things we were taught while growing up were phone manners. It is probably too late and the situation way too far gone and times too different and phones are way too progressed and accessible than they used to be but maybe we could try a little bit of manners and consideration when using our phones. I certainly want to work on this my own self.

He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend. Proverbs 22:11
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer every one. Colossians 4:6

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Housewife

Being a housewife is very important. It is too bad it has declined so in our world. Caring for the home, the husband, the children is a grand job. It is a job that takes skill, smarts, organization, wisdom and love.
It is probably one of the most important jobs there are.
Today, in our society, we don't like to say the word housewife.  We say stay at home mom or SAHM or homemaker. Those are all very good titles but I think  housewife covers all of those titles and more because a woman doesn't stop caring for her home just because she sends her children to school or because they are grown and gone or even after she may be alone.  Caring for a home is something that is in a woman. It is a God-given talent. We just seem to know when things need picked up, straightened up or cleaned up.
We know when it is time to feed our families, when they need help with clothing or when they need support or understanding.  I think Donna Reed is right in this video about all that a housewife is and then some.
I know in today's society alot of women have abandoned their role but I believe many women are returning. I am not saying that all women should quit their jobs and stay home. There are many of us who need the money from that job. I myself work part time. I am just saying that maybe we just need to keep our priorities in line and not feel that the caring of the home is a meaningless job.

Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good. so that they may train younger women to love their husbands and children, 
to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers home, there are many of us who need the money from that job.  I myself work part time. I am just saying that  maybe we just need to keep our priorities in line and not feel that the caring of the home is a meaningless job. Titus 2: 3-5

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Penguin server

Today, I acquired a Penguin server from my mom. She is moving and wasn't sure she wanted it so passed it on to me.  It was a wedding present she had received back in 1956.

Many of us who grew up in the 60's and 70's will remember seeing the Penguin server brought out as an ice bucket.  The handles on the sides are to resembly penguin wings. There are imprints of penguins on the sides of the bucket also.

What I learned about the ice bucket was that it was made by West Bend Aluminum Company in West Bend, Wisconsin.

The original name of the bucket is West Bend Penguin Hot and Cold Server Ice Bucket.  The bucket was first created in May of 1941 but was most popular in the 1950's.

These were very popular and if you have one you definitely have a part of history. If you like retro or vintage designs you might find one in an antique store or maybe acquire your mothers.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cleaning and dusting and vacuuming

I recently have suffered with a very bad allergy attack. It was so bad the swelling on my sinuses was putting pressure on my ears and causing dizziness.  It was very scarey because I didn't know what was going on. I suffer with allergies typically but nothing that a Tylenol wouldn't take away the headache but this was different.

Now, I don't claim to have the cleanest house around so as I start talking about this I am not picking on anyone's way of cleaning but after going through this I have learned a few things about dust and dust mites.

Dust mites are the most common cause of allergy from dust mites. These critters belong to the arachnid family. They multiply in warm, humid spaces. They are not found in dry climates.

If you are  allergic to dust mites you are  reacting to proteins within the bodies and feces of the mites. Yuck. These particles are found mostly in pillows, mattresses, carpeting and upholstered furniture. They float into the air during vacuuming, walking on a carpet or any disturbance of bedding, but settle out of the air soon after the disturbance is over, but it takes about two hours for them to settle completely

Each mite produces about 10 to 20 waste particles per day and lives for 30 days. Egg-laying females can add 25 to 30 new mites to the population during their lifetime. Yuck again.

They do have a purpose. Mites eat particles of skin and dander, so they thrive in places where there are people and animals. They don't bite, do not spread diseases and usually do not live on people. They are harmful only to people who become allergic to them.

There are ways, though, to control exposure to dusts mites.

1. Keep moisure levels low. Use vent fans in bathrooms when needed and use oven fans when cooking.
2. Remove wall to wall carpet if possible. If not, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter regularly. Possibly wear a dust mask. Don't clean at night. Remember it takes two hours for dust to settle.

3. Keep pets out of the bedroom.

4. Wash linens in hot soapy water. Encase pillows and mattresses in mite-proof covers.

5. Use a high-efficiency furnace filter. Leave the fan on to create a whole house filter. Change your filter every three months.

I don't claim to be an expert on any of this.  This is not medical advice or expert advice and is not to be taken that way. I have recieved my information from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. If you are suffering from allergies consult a doctor.

As a housekeeper I try to vacuum and dust and keep a clean house and was surprised about the two hours for dust to fall.  I recently helped someone move who was elderly and had alot of dust in their house because of lack of cleaning.  The point I am trying to make here is try to keep your dust to a mininum because it can be painful


We have homeschooled for 8 years and now my son is going to high school. We have found a really great Catholic high school nearby.  He has only been there a couple of days but so far he seems to like it. My husband and I both enjoy helping our son in the evening with his homework. 
We recently purchased a huge bunkbed for him with a desk underneath, arranged some lighting and it makes a great place for working on homework.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Garbage bags

I recently went gracery shopping and used the new cloth bags that are becoming so popular.  This is a strange post but I just wanted to say I enjoyed using them.  They held so much more and were much easier to carry into the house when I got home.

I didn't put meats in those bags because I had heard you should continue to use the plastic bags to keep from getting stains and germs on your cloth bags.

I am trying to remember to take them with me when I go to the store but that is kind of hard. I always find myself wishing I had remembered them as soon as I get in line.  I am going to try to keep them in the car. That might help.

I, also, wonder what am I going to use to line my garbage cans. Plastic bags come in so handy.

Saint Francis

Not too long ago my husband and I went to an event at a Catholic institution and there was a nun there who gave a brief talk about Saint Francis. It seems like I saw alot of blank stares like people were wondering who is this man Saint Francis. Again her talk was brief and that was just because her time was limited. I am sure she would have told more if she would have had the time.

Now most people have heard of him and most people know he was someone who loved animals and was kind to nature but what alot of people, myself included until just recently, don't know there is more to him than that.

Saint Francis lived from 1182 to 1286 AD.  He was born to a wealthy cloth maker. Now Francis was born while his father was away and his mother had him baptized while his father was gone.  When Pietro Bernadone returned from his trip to find his son had been baptized Giovanni, after John the Baptist, he was furious and renamed him Francesco.  This means Frenchman.

Times were very permissive for Francis. He was well liked and easy to get along with. No one really tried to control him.  He seemed to attract to the wrong type of people. He had a large following of youth. All of which were attracted to evil.

He loved France. He was good at business. He had wealth but wanted more. He wanted to be a knight. His chance came when Assisi went to battle with Perugia.

During the battle many troops were killed. The wealthy were taken prisoner with the possibility of being ransomed. Francis now with the nobility was in a dungeon but later he was ransomed.

As he set off for another battle he had a conversion. He saw a painting of Jesus on the cross.
One day while riding through the countryside, Francis came face to face with a leper. Repelled by the appearance and the smell of the leper, Francis nevertheless jumped down from his horse and kissed the hand of the leper. When his kiss of peace was returned, Francis was filled with joy. As he rode off, he turned around for a last wave, and saw that the leper was gone. He always it was a  test from God...that he had passed.

One day as he passed a ruined church in San Damiono he heard God speak to him to repair his church. Francis thought it meant that particular church. He sold his fathers cloth and used the money to repair the church.  His father was angry and felt this was theft and so took him in front of the Bishop and the whole town and accused him of stealing from him.  The bishop insisted Francis return the money. That is what Francis did, return the money and even the clothes on his back until he was left with nothing but a hair cloth.  After that Francis had nothing but had everything.

He rebuilt the San Damiano church and little by little people began to follow him. He started out with one rule: live by the Gospel.

He also, loved nature. Now many people love nature but Francis had a gift with nature. There is one story where Francis was preaching to the birds in a tree and they all sat still and left only when he told them he could leave. Another story is told of a wolf who would attack the people of the village. Francis talked to the wolf and convinced him to not attack the  people and the people would feed the wolf.

As Francis and his followers went out preaching they would travel in twos as the Gospel  instructs. At first people didn't like these poor men coming around and treated them cruelly. As time went on and people saw that Francis and his followers continued to have joy despite their poverty and cruel treatment people began to welcome them with smiles.

Francis saw his poverty as freedom. No one could steal from him or starve him.

Francis had a meeting with the pope, who just happen to have a dream Francis would help the church.

Once, a very brave move was to visit the sultan of the muslims during the fifth crusade. After listening to Francis the sultan stated he would convert to christianity except they would both be murdered.

Francis' final years were filled with suffering. In his prayers to share in Christ's passion he received the stigmata, the marks of the nails and the lance wound that Christ suffered, in his own body.

As time went on  Francis became ill. When he began to go blind, the pope ordered that his eyes be operated on. This meant cauterizing his face with a hot iron. Francis spoke to "Brother Fire": "Brother Fire, the Most High has made you strong and beautiful and useful. Be courteous to me now in this hour, for I have always loved you, and temper your heat so that I can endure it."  Francis reported that Brother Fire had been so kind that he felt no pain.

After all this with suffering and blindness  he wrote his beautiful Canticle of the Sun that expresses his brotherhood with creation in praising God.

Francis never recovered from this illness. He died on October 4, 1226 at the age of 45.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The 13th Day

I recently saw the movie The 13th Day. For most Catholics you know about Our Lady of Fatima.

Some will not as I did not for a long time.

Three children from Fatima, Portugal experienced an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the year 1917.  On October 13, 1917 she performed a great miracle.

Before the apparitions of the Blessed Mother, though, in the spring of 1916 there were  three visitations of the Guardian Angel of Portugal.
The angel appeared three times asking three children to pray.

Do not be afraid. I am the angel of peace. Pray with me.

He knelt, bending his forehead to the ground. With a supernatural impulse we did the same, repeating the words we heard him say:
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.
After repeating this prayer three times the angel rose and said to us:
Pray in this way. The hearts of Jesus and Mary are ready to listen to you.

The angel appeared again asking them to pray and then a third time he inspired them with the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist and strengthened them with the Bread of Angels.

The apparitions of the Blessed Virgin went from May 13, 1917 to October 13, 1917.

I want a chapel built here in my honor. I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day.
The war will end soon, and the soldiers will return to their homes.I am the Lady of the Rosary.
The children told her, "I have many petitions from many people. Will you grant them? "

"Some I shall grant, and others I must deny. People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend our Lord any more, for He is already too much offended! "

The children asked, "And is that all you have to ask?"
There is nothing more.

The war she was talking about was World War I.  She also in one of her appearances told them if people did not amend their ways a worse war would break out, and Russia would spread its communist errors.

One more thing, amongst others, is, she showed them a vision of @#!*% .

This movie is great. I highly recommend it. Alot of the scenes are real from the actual event.

On October 13th when she performed the miracle of the sun there were thousands of people there.  Many with cameras, many just eye witnesses. The sun danced and then appeared as if it was going to crash to earth. 

This was an awesome event in our history and this movie is a great portrayal of that event.

Here is one newspaper article written by someone who was there that day.

 O Seculo (a pro-government, anti-clerical, Lisbon paper):

From the road, where the vehicles were parked and where hundreds of people who had not dared to brave the mud were congregated, one could see the immense multitude turn toward the sun, which appeared free from clouds and in its zenith. It looked like a plaque of dull silver, and it was possible to look at it without the least discomfort. It might have been an eclipse which was taking place. But at that moment a great shout went up, and one could hear the spectators nearest at hand shouting: "A miracle! A miracle!
Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was biblical as they stood bareheaded, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws---the sun "danced" according to the typical expression of the people.
Standing at the step of an omnibus was an old man. With his face turned to the sun, he recited the Credo in a loud voice. I asked who he was and was told Senhor Joao da Cunha Vasconcelos. I saw him afterwards going up to those around him who still had their hats on, and vehemently imploring them to uncover before such an extraordinary demonstration of the existence of God.
Identical scenes were repeated elsewhere, and in one place a woman cried out: "How terrible! There are even men who do not uncover before such a stupendous miracle!"
People then began to ask each other what they had seen. The great majority admitted to having seen the trembling and the dancing of the sun; others affirmed that they saw the face of the Blessed Virgin; others, again, swore that the sun whirled on itself like a giant Catherine wheel and that it lowered itself to the earth as if to burn it in its rays. Some said they saw it change colors successively....

Here is a link to read many other eyewitness reports and then go see the movie.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Book review: Break-In at the Basilica

My son and I have enjoyed two books as of lately in a series of three.  The first one is called Lost in St. Peter's Tomb.  The second book is titled Break-In at the Basilica. The third, which we haven't read yet is titled Curse of the Coins.

The stories center around two young children. A brother and a sister whose parents travel frequently. The third person the story centers on is Sister Philomena.

Sister Philomena is a nun in a convent in Grottaferrata, Italy, which is near Rome. Few people realize she is a special investigative agent to the Pope. The young girl and boy are her niece and nephew and when their parents travel, they send the children to stay with her at the convent. This seems quite dull to them at first, especially Riley. He doesn't see how spending any time in a convent can be fun for a boy.

In the first book they are looking for  a mysterious intruder in the Apostolic Palace, they end up led astray by a white cat and end up in St. Peter's tomb. They help to recover the missing relics of St. Peter, all the while learning about St. Peter's life and learn about the Vatican and Italian lifestyles, as well as famous places and works of art.  Very interesting.

The second book starts out similar. They are sent to spend time with Sister Philomena, their aunt. When a break in occurs at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. They again find themselves in the center of action, helping  Sister Philomena search for clues.  They explore the basilica, study its frescos, sneak into the tomb of Saint Francis, wander through Assisi, at find themselves at the little church of San Damiano.  In the story they spot a wolf, hear its howl or feel its presence. What is the meaning of the wolf. What is it trying to tell them? Woven into this story  are the personal stories of Saint Francis and Saint Clare and the sights and sounds of Assisi.

We enjoyed both of these books. They are very interesting and move quickly.  I am very excited to get the next books in the series. This book, too, sounds very interesting. They are in search of the 30 pieces of silver Judas was paid for betraying Jesus. Franciscan monks of Jerusalem sent the coins to the Vatican Museums for authentication and safekeeping - but then they disappeared!

I read, also, there is a fourth book coming. Sister of Siena.

Here is a link for more information:

I love the reading aloud part of homeschooling. It is my favorite part. It is amazing what I learn, too.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Friday, March 26, 2010

Palm Sunday

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, also, called Passion Sunday. It marks the beginning of Holy Week. Holy Week and Easter are the most important times for Christians.

Palm Sunday is a celebration of Jesus entering into Jerusalem.

"When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage  on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an @#!*% tethered, and a colt with her.  Untie them and bring them here to me. And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, 'The master has need of them.' Then he will send them at once." This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: "Say to daughter Zion, 'Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an @#!*% , and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'" The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the @#!*% and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them. The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest." And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, "Who is this?" And the crowds replied, "This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee."  Matthew 21: 1-11

This event is told in all four Gospels. The event is celebrated by the blessing and distribution of palm branches, a solemn or simple procession into the Church before the start of the Mass.

In Jerusalem the people were showing honor to the King of kings. This is what we are doing still. Jesus loves us so much and wants to be King in our lives because He loves us. Just like a parent wants the best for their children, so does Jesus want the best for us. So, we honor Him because he has done so much for us, for our good. There is a good reason for remembering the first Palm Sunday and celebrating Palm Sunday today; to show Jesus He is our Lord and King.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"The thoughts of those moved by natural human love are almost completely fastened on the beloved, their hearts are filled with passion for it, and their mouths full of its praises. When it is gone they express their feelings in letters, and can't pass by a tree without carving the name of their beloved in its bark. Thus too those who love God can never stop thinking about him, longing for him, aspiring to him, and speaking about him. If they could, they would engrave the name of Jesus on the hearts of all humankind."

Saint Francis de Sales, pray for us.

Dear Lord help us to educate our family for your glory.

"Since parents have conferred life on their children, they have a most solemn obligation to educate their offspring. Hence, parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it. For it devolves on parents to create a family atmosphere so animated with love and reverence for God and others that a well-rounded personal and social development will be fostered among children. Hence, the family is the first school of those social virtues which every society needs."--Gravissimum Educationis (one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council)

Helping and Loving Our Neighbor

Corporal works of Mercy
Feed the hungry

Give drink to the thirsty

Clothe the naked

Shelter the homeless

Visit the sick

Visit the imprisoned

Bury the dead

The Spiritual Works of Mercy
Admonish the sinner

Instruct the ignorant

Counsel the doubtful

Comfort the sorrowful
Bear wrongs patiently

Forgive all injuries

Pray for the living and the dead

Good Samaritain